Prosecutor Recommends Nearly 4 Years In Jail For Harry Thomas Jr. | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

Filed Under:

Prosecutor Recommends Nearly 4 Years In Jail For Harry Thomas Jr.

Play associated audio
Harry Thomas Jr., shown here after pleading guilty to embezzling funds in January, will face a judge for sentencing this week. 
Patrick Madden
Harry Thomas Jr., shown here after pleading guilty to embezzling funds in January, will face a judge for sentencing this week. 

Federal prosecutors are asking a U.S. District Court judge to sentence former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. to nearly four years in prison for stealing government funds. Thomas will stand before a federal judge Thursday to find out how long he will spend in prison for embezzling more than $350,000 in public funds and filing false tax returns.

Thomas pleaded guilty earlier this year after settling a civil lawsuit with the city and resigning from his seat on the council. Sentencing guidelines recommend a 41- to 51-month sentence for Thomas and prosecutors and defense attorneys filed their recommendations with the court late Friday.

U.S. Attorney Ron Machen is seeking a 46-month sentence for Thomas. Machen writes that Thomas "secretly stole money ear-marked for youth enrichment programs ... while publicly portraying himself as a champion of under-privileged children," according to court documents.

Some of the money Thomas stole — which was supposed to go youth sports programs — instead went to to pay for lavish trips and a luxury SUV.

Defense attorneys for the former council member are asking for a lighter sentence: 18 months. They argue in their court filing that Thomas has a long record of community service and has accepted responsibilty for his actions.

And Thomas, in his first public comments since the day he pleaded guilty, tells the judge in his letter that he is "truly sorry"  and says he needs to "spend time making amends" and "seeking forgiveness."

"Words," Thomas writes, "will not be sufficient … only actions."

And as Thomas awaits sentencing, new details about his embezzlement scheme at the city’s Children & Youth Investment Trust (CYTIC) are raising concerns that Thomas had help skimming money from the public-private non-profit.

Council member Jim Graham late last week released the findings of his months-long inquiry into the Trust. The report concludes that there was lax oversight at the organization and that Thomas couldn't have pulled off the scheme without help from Trust staff and perhaps others in the city government.

Graham is now launching a formal council investigation with subpoena power to find out more information and to help restore confidence in the organization.

WAMU 88.5

Second Annual Funk Parade To Take Over U Street

This weekend you can get funky on U Street with live music, a street festival and a parade, as tomorrow marks the second Funk Parade. Funk Parade organizers couldn't get a permit to march down U Street last year, but the crowd veered off V Street anyway to where co-founder Justin Rood always...
NPR

How Dangerous Is Powdered Alcohol?

Last month, the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau approved a powdered alcohol product, making both parents and lawmakers nervous. Some states have already banned powdered alcohol. NPR's Arun Rath speaks with Brent Roth of Wired, who made his own powdered concoction and put it to the test.
NPR

Obama Administration Forced To Defend Strategy Against ISIS In Iraq

On this Memorial Day, the Obama administration finds itself defending its foreign policy strategy in Iraq where the self-proclaimed Islamic State, also known as ISIS, has captured the city of Ramadi.
NPR

In California, Technology Makes "Droughtshaming" Easier Than Ever

As California's drought continues, social media and smart phone apps let just about anyone call out water waste, often very publicly.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.